The multi-family housing industry is extremely competitive, and successful property owners and managers quickly learn the value of retaining quality residents. It’s not only more cost efficient to keep long-term residents, but these known relationships reduce risk, their testimonies serve as a valuable marketing tool, and the communities they form can even increase property values.
How do you transform your multi-family property into a flourishing neighborhood full of long-term residents? Resident satisfaction is key to resident retention and a successful multi-family property business. But what keeps residents satisfied? What are 2020 renters looking for in a home and community?
Most areas boast a plethora of properties with similar rates and conventional amenities. Some might call them a dime a dozen. How does a property owner stand apart from the rest and keep their residents happy? The following five strategies are effective in boosting multi-family resident satisfaction and retention.
Welcome and Renewal Gifts
Residents want to feel valued, and long-term residents want to feel appreciated. Leaving new residents a welcome gift is a great way to show your appreciation, welcome them to the neighborhood and leave a lasting impression. Some property owners and property managers choose to leave a bottle of wine, a basket of snacks or even a book of coupons to neighborhood merchants. But, don’t forget about loyal residents who choose to renew their leases! Renewal gifts are an effective way to thank residents for their loyalty and remind them they are a valuable part of the multi-family community.
How does an existing multi-family property keep residents excited about their homes even when they start looking at the new construction across the street? New amenities are constantly entering the market, and don’t think your residents aren’t aware of them. Successful property owners and managers must monitor these new comforts and conveniences to keep long-term residents from seeking them elsewhere.
Gone are the days when a washer/dryer and Jacuzzi tub were enough amenities to keep multi-family residents satisfied. According to the 2020 Apartment Resident Preference Report, today’s residents want their homes to boast the latest must-have technologies like voice-activated virtual assistants. The study by the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates surveyed almost 372,000 (Kirill, the article has a different number) renters across the United States, and it found satisfied residents also seek amenities like coworking spaces and even perks for their pets.
Satisfied residents of multi-family properties feel like they are part of a community. A great way to foster this sense of belonging is through hosting events and activities for residents and their families. A barbecue, an ice cream social or even a movie night complete with popcorn are all popular ways not only to entertain residents but to build valuable communities. When residents form positive relationships with their neighbors, it gives them positive feelings about their homes and reasons to stay. Bringing residents together for a good cause is another effective way to build a community. You can host a property-wide food drive or a bake sale with proceeds benefiting a local cause.
Treating the children living in multi-family properties is another proven way to boost resident satisfaction. After all, who doesn’t have a soft spot for those who show kindness to their children? Holiday parties and letters from Santa are great ways to treat the kids, as well as events like back-to-school bashes, tutoring programs and Halloween parades.
Nothing makes residents more unsatisfied than waiting for repairs. No one wants to live in a home with broken appliances or malfunctioning HVAC equipment. Of course, the very nature of machines and electronics means they will eventually wear down and break. Through preventative maintenance, property owners and managers can reduce the chances their residents will have to wait for repairs or be left out in the cold (or heat). It doesn’t hurt that preventative maintenance is also far more cost-efficient for property owners than waiting for equipment to wear out or break.
When J Turner Research analyzed 10,000 apartment resident satisfaction surveys, three of the top 10 results dealt with maintenance and repairs. Multi-family property residents were most likely to complain about the quality of responses to maintenance requests and poor upkeep of grounds and common areas, as well as a general lack of preventative maintenance. Motili’s research showed a 20% increase in resident satisfaction at a property where preventative maintenance was done, vs one where it had not been done – prior to a hot summer.
Resident Satisfaction Surveys
Every community is different, and the needs of multi-family residents in one property won’t be identical to those in the one down the street. The best way to gauge the pulse of your residents is simply by asking for their feedback. Resident satisfaction surveys can help property owners and managers understand what they are doing well and areas where they can improve in the eyes of their residents.
Of course, it’s not enough to simply ask for residents’ opinions for them to feel their opinions are valued. It’s also necessary to act upon the feedback and make reasonable improvements in response. Surveys can be added to a multi-family property’s website, included with lease renewals or even sent to resident websites. To make loyal residents feel even more valued and appreciated, send a note of thanks to those who provide feedback that is implemented.